Brief: Jetstream drops VoIP bombshell

Jetstream Communications last week announced that it holds a very broad patent on the concept of transporting voice and data over local packet networks - which includes voice over DSL. Jetstream is one of three major vendors specializing in voice-over-DSL technology along with CopperCom and Tollbridge Technologies. Jetstream says it plans to demand license fees from companies it feels are using the patented technology, but the company says it will charge commercially reasonable prices, according to Steve Gleave, Jetstream's vice president of marketing. "This isn't an announcement that says, 'Hey, crikey, we've taken over,'" Gleave says. "We think it identifies us as a pioneer in voice over broadband." CopperCom says it was well underway developing its voice-over-DSL system many months before Jetstream filed for its patent in July 1998. Agnes Imregh, Tollbridge's vice president of marketing, says she is skeptical the patent will stick. "I've seen this strategy before. It was perceived as really cheesy," Imregh adds.

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